While faith is restored in humanity, the opera is being restored in modernity. I have so often thought that the opera is beyond my scope of interest in the world of musical theatre. It is rather incomprehensible with the libretto or the lyrics of the operatic works being written in romance languages that would render the average audience dumbfounded. The opera to me has rather set its exclusivity high among a few cultured people.
But my adventure into the musical theatre did not stop me from exploring the world of the opera, well, at least with my first experience. It was rather simplistic for those who have been primed and exposed to it, but my first was tasty and relevant in today’s context.
Mad About Mozart: Sex, Seduction, Death, and Transcendence, under the direction of Jon Meer Vera Perez and RankOne’s production, an experimental and a fresh take on excerpts and selected pieces of Mozart’s works in the opera, has set the stage on a different level because this is more bridging the gap between the old and the new, the sacred and the profane, and the incomprehensible to a more understandable. Staged at the Opera Haus in Makati on April 22, 2015, the performance happens to be the first among a series of operatic performances this year.
With all honesty, what drew me to the performance was its juicy theme. Mozart, as I’ve known him, has reached the mundane world of today, that’s what I thought. But how can it actually be when all I could think about him is the plucking sound of the harpsichord, the strumming and swiping of the strings, and the whole reverberating orchestra ensemble. And I just realized – I was just too naïve of the opera that I narrowed it down to what I know. The opera is more than just the extreme boredom and dozing-off performance that most would think. It is rather literary, dramatic, and worthy of pondering because there is more to it.
Mad About Mozart was a good debut for me into the opera world. And with this, I have my top 5 thoughts about its supposed theme of sex, seduction, death, and transcendence that may be relevant today:
- Once it’s pleasurable, we get into it.
Who doesn’t want pleasure? Whatever makes us happy, excited, or ecstatic is up in our list. We are meant to seek for pleasure, and we try much as hard to get into it. Once we find out that there is one good source of that pleasure, we plunge into it. Finding a girl or guy who excites us based on the shot-up attraction level and connection is the beginning of everything. All the wooing, the romantic advances of the guy, and the sweet giving-in of the girl are apparently the manifestations of this.
- We over-consume pleasure.
It’s like eating sweets, the more we eat, the more that we want. The dopamine level may have increased. In romance, be it love or just a lustful intent, this same principle applies. We just can’t be content with just a single experience. This is not to assume that one can’t settle for fidelity and loyalty, but in reality, infidelity occurs. The guy seeks pleasure with another girl. It’s the guys’ nature they say. I say it can be anybody’s because the desire for pleasure is increasing for everyone. And it’s just a matter of self-control that puts everything in order. We just can’t have enough of everything.
- We end up in shambles after over-consumption.
Too much of everything is not good, they say. Well, let truth be told. We are up only for a certain extent of anything that we take in. Too much food makes us overweight. Too much drinking makes us wasted. Too much stress will lead to extreme breakdown and exhaustion. Too much of emotional distress will make us crazy, probably. And too much loving and many romantic escapades will lead to much “running-away,” anxiety, conflict, and overfed ego.
- We become “Superman.”
But, we tend to choose to go beyond every down moment. We go past the destruction, and renew ourselves from many realizations. We do not settle down there. We most of the time fly ahead and seek for long-lasting happiness. This may lead to a more stable deal of romance and love, or probably a more self-actualizing disposition in life like going back to school, putting up a business, travelling, getting fit by hitting the gym, or doing something interesting.
- In every struggle, we move on.
We have our own struggles in life. No one lives a perfect, struggle-free life. We just have different stories and experiences. But within these struggles, there are small victories. There is a reason that we choose to move on. In every heartache or heartbreak, we choose to live our lives, and get past what makes us miserable.
Mad About Mozart capped it all off with simple words: we struggle for love; we struggle for truth; we struggle for respect; we struggle for anything. We have our own struggles. But we end going past these by transcending, by believing that there is more to life.
Mozart and his operas are still relevant today. It’s the same story over and over again.
And that was my Opera 101 experience.